Tag Archives: Business

Houston’s Oddly Absent Zoning Laws

Houston NeighborhoodHouston, Texas is one of the largest cities in the United States, ranking in at number four in terms of population. It’s got all the hallmarks of a huge metropolis.

The bustling city represents the locale of headquarters and flagship establishments for many of the world’s largest companies. It’s a logistical and economic artery, with railways and shipping channels. NASA is right around the corner, and it is an epicenter of the energy and oil industries.

But Houston also has a huge, sprawling populace with residential suburbs peppering the entire landscape. In most cities, especially larger ones, the commercial and residential sectors are somewhat segregated by zoning. But Houston has a quirky exception to this convention – No zoning laws.

The absence of zoning code means that there are no city-wide rules that regulate the use of land or the placement of business and residential establishments with respect to each other throughout the city. Your home could be right next to a business park. In some cases, a home can also be a business itself.

While there is no actual zoning code placing restrictions on building and land use, most property deeds contain contractual obligations that act in a similar fashion as zoning laws would. The difference is that the land owner and developers usually govern them.

As for whether or not this unusual absence of zoning laws in Houston is positive or negative, we have to look at it from a few different perspectives: Commerce, Residents and Prosperity.


In terms of commerce, Houston’s zoning laws grants a bit more flexibility to where a business can set up shop. Unlike other cities with zoning codes, it’s easier for a business to find a good location without such restrictions. Investors, however, sometimes find the lack of zoning somewhat tricky.

In suburban markets, real estate investors are apprehensive about working through the unusual zoning situation. Values and returns might be tough to feel confident about if a subdivision ends up sitting next to an airport. But residential developers have created a method to give investors peace of mind by building deed restrictions and land use covenants into the properties.


The one obvious drawback for residents living in a big city like Houston and having no zoning laws is the potential misfortune of a home right next to an industrial complex. But that occurrence is very rare. On the other hand, residents who wish to run a business out of their own homes might find it easier to accomplish that compared to a city with zoning codes.

Another benefit for residents is the convenience of easier commutes to work and the nearby locations of businesses and services. A worker in Houston could have a potentially long commute given the sheer sprawling size of the city. But because they have more options to choose from when selecting a home close to their workplace, residents can enjoy very short commutes.

Overall Prosperity

Even with all the varying opinions of both residents and commercial enterprises alike regarding the advantages and disadvantages of having no zoning laws, the real proof can be gleaned from the historical prosperity of the city.

Throughout the years, despite an absence of zoning laws, Houston has seen great prosperity. Whether you look at the continued population growth, or the influx of tourism and fresh investors and entrepreneurs, or perhaps the strong economic stability and growth in Houston; all of the signs point to a successful city. And it didn’t need zoning laws to get there!

Austin Faux works for We Buy Ugly Houses Houston. When not dealing in real estate Austin loves helping his wife relax, playing with is kids, and taking the family to the park.

Key Points To Consider When Hiring A Professional Pest Control Firm

RoachWhether it’s rodents, wasps, mice or cockroaches, coping with pests in your home can be a very unpleasant experience and can dramatically increase your stress levels. Unfortunately, catching them and removing them can also be a difficult task, especially if you’re out of the house for most of the day. That’s why it is often a good idea to hire the professionals, who have years of experience in dealing with pest-related issues. This article looks at some of the main reasons why people prefer to use pest control firms as opposed to removing the pests on their own.

Check Credentials

A reputable company will have a valid license and certificate. Find out if it is a member of the British Pest Control Association, a major trade body representing more than 7,000 people and more than 500 members across the country. You may also want to consider hiring a pest control company that a friend, family member of neighbor has used, or try finding some online testimonials to see what previous customers have said about the service. The better their feedback, the better the company’s success rates.

Ask Plenty Of Questions Beforehand

For peace of mind, pest control firms may offer a guarantee with their services, although this does not necessarily mean that they will be able to remove all unwanted pests quickly and without delays. Before you hire the company, make sure they explain the procedures involved and ask as many questions as possible before signing a contract for a long term service. Even the most experienced professionals will not be able to answer all of your questions. So if they simply say ‘I don’t know’ and that they plan on finding out the answer as soon as possible, it shows that they are being honest and are not simple making up answers on the spot.

Does The Pricing Reflect The Market Rate?

It’s always tempting to choose the cheapest service, but consider the quality of service you may receive if you choose a pest control company that charges significantly lower prices than the industrial standard. Sometimes it is worth paying more to get more, although feedback and recommendations are still the most accurate way to determine how reputable a pest control firm is. Typically, companies with plenty of satisfied, long term customers will not need to charge extortionately high or exceedingly low prices.

Can You Remove Pests Yourself?

Mice are notoriously quick at escaping underneath the tiniest gaps and holes and are difficult to capture yourself. It is also dangerous to venture near wasps’ nests without sufficient protective gear. Pest control companies will have all the professional equipment, chemicals and other resources they will to combat pests and will usually know which techniques and/or products are most effective for different types of unwanted creatures or insects. If you decide to do the job on your own, you may have to resort to the internet to find out what you need to do. Of course, the internet is full of contradictions and is not always the most reliable source of information with regards to situations like this.

Dan Mange is a professional pest removal expert for Essex Pest Control-leading providers of comprehensive commercial and residential pest management services to the South East of England

Published by Thomas Ballantyne

Downgrading Your Home In Houston

Sometimes in life, a major change can mean the need to downgrade to a smaller home.  Whether your kids move out or you receive a pay decrease, the important thing is to realize the need to change your lifestyle.  But downgrading doesn’t always come easy; some things need to be taken into consideration.  Deciding on your new needs, finding a market for your old home, and finding a place for your stuff, are things to consider when you get started.  Doing things like putting your stuff into storage or simply being flexible with your asking price for your old home can help things go smoothly.

City of Houston

Deciding on Your New Needs

If you’re looking to downgrade your home, you’ve already decided what you don’t need, but what exactly are you looking for?  This can be a bigger question than you anticipated, so it’s important to decide once and for all what you are looking for in your next home.  This can be the difference between whether you look for a new home in the Spring Branch neighborhood, an apartment in the downtown area, or a place in one of the many other Houston neighborhoods.

Finding the Market for Your Home

Once you’ve figured out exactly what you’re looking for in a new Houston home, it’s time to decide what to do with your old home.  Putting your home on the buying market requires a number of considerations.  Go online or talk to a Houston real estate agent to find out what the market is for homes similar to yours; this can give you the price range for your asking price.  It’s also important to decide what the lowest price is you’re willing to accept for your home.  It’s unreasonable to expect the selling of your home to go without some compromise, so being flexible will be expected of you.  The market of your place will depend on the neighborhood, so make sure you research the market of your specific Houston neighborhood.

What to Do with All That Stuff

One of the biggest issues that come along with downgrading into a smaller place is figuring out what to do with all the stuff that you’ve accumulated throughout the years.  Luckily, there are a number of options that you have at your disposal.  If you don’t have much to get rid of, having a garage sale can be a great way to minimize the amount of excess stuff that you have to take care of.  If you have stuff that you can’t seem to get rid of, or things that you don’t want to, consider moving your personal items into a storage facility.  Seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations or pool items are perfect candidates to be moved to off-site storage in Houston.  It can be the best idea to help alleviate the problem of too much stuff.

Settling In

Getting comfortable in your new home can be a longer process than you’d expect, especially if your downgrade is a major one.  If you’re downgrading into a different Houston neighborhood, there could be an adjustment period based on amenities in the new area, the commute that you now must take to work, or even something as simple as where you get your morning coffee.  It’s important to remember that no matter how major or minimal a downgrade actually is, your first home was once new as well, but it wasn’t long before it became familiar to you.  Given time, your new place will be as familiar to you as your old place was.

Downgrading can be a blessing in disguise and it can go smoothly if you plan ahead.  Once done, it can be a whole new beginning for you and your family.

Featured images:

Ashely is a new writer that has an interest in writing about home improvement and real estate. Check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985 to see more.

Why Are International Investors Interested In Houston?


New York and Washington, D.C. have historically been some of the most attractive places for international investments. While they are still near the top of the list, these investors are looking elsewhere thanks to economic performance. Houston is now standing out as a desirable place for cross border interactions and with good reason. Houston’s local economy has been strong over the past several years and it looks like there’s no sign of slowing down.

Houston’s economy has always performed well compared to the rest of the United States. Thanks the strong corporate energy presence in Houston, the city emerged faster than any other U.S. city from the recent recession. After hitting its unemployment peak, Houston’s unemployment rate dropped for 16 straight months. It’s not just in the United States where Houston stands out as an economic contender. Houston’s gross product has been reported as high as $435.9 billion. This makes their economy larger than Belgium, Malaysia, Venezuela and Sweden. Houston’s large numbers are thanks to its oil and gas exploration and production. Nearly 4,000 energy-related companies call Houston home.

Perhaps one of the biggest draws for international investors is Houston’s affordability. Many companies see Houston as one of the best locations for getting a return on their property investment.  Other major cities in the U.S. might offer advantages to businesses but their costs to operate are significantly higher than Houston’s. Houston also offers a low cost of living at a high quality of life. This is bringing in a lot of relocated residents who are looking for a thriving economy that offers ample job opportunities as well as an affordable place to raise a family.

There is also a very long list of initiatives for businesses to base their companies in Houston. They include: tax increment reinvestment zones, tax abatements, pollution control property tax abatements, priority for “green” businesses, statistical GIS mapping, foreign trade zones, tax phase-in programs and The Texas Economic Development Act to name a few.

Houston’s location in the southernmost part of the United States also makes it an attractive location for international investors. Especially for those companies who serve both the U.S. and Mexico markets.  Houston’s abundance of companies who serve other Latin American markets also make the city a desirable location for other businesses that want to tap into these markets. Houston has been considered a gateway to Latin America.

Houston’s existing international culture scene as well as its desirable economic characteristics makes it an attractive city for international investors. In addition to what the city already has to offer, local government provides several incentives to try to bring the best in the world to Houston.  The city has proclaimed its government to be one that is pro-business. They pledge to minimize red tape and delays in order to make the investment process easier, especially for foreign investors. With that type of local support, it is easy to see why Houston is making the top of the list for international investors looking to bring their companies to the United States.

Rickey Williams is a real estate investor, expert, and blogger. He works with We Buy Ugly Houses in Houston, a home buying franchise.